BAGHDAD, Iraq – The major fighting may be over in Iraq, but the occupied nation continues to be a deadly one for the American troops patrolling it.
An American soldier was killed by hostile fire in the Persian Gulf nation on Thursday, becoming the ninth GI to die there in a week. Another two dozen have been injured.
The unidentified American soldier was killed while traveling on a main supply route in Iraq, U.S. Central Command(search) said in a statement.
The military headquarters said the soldier was evacuated to 21st Combat Support Hospital (search), where he was pronounced dead.
It gave no further details. V Corps (search) is conducting an investigation of the incident.
The announcement came following a sharp escalation in clashes between Iraqis and U.S. troops in recent days.
Iraqi gunmen killed two American soldiers and wounded nine others early Tuesday in the town of Fallujah, an area of strong support for Saddam Hussein's fallen Baath party. The attack in Fallujah happened around midnight at a checkpoint in the town about 30 miles west of Baghdad.
The attack began when a hostile force of unknown size attacked a U.S. Army unit in Al Fallujah earlier this morning with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. Initial reports are that the attackers fired from a mosque in the city.
U.S. Army soldiers responded decisively with concentrated fire from Bradley Fighting Vehicles, crew-served weapons and small arms. They killed two attackers and captured six others for questioning.
The U.S. soldiers killed or wounded were from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based in Fort Carson, Colo. Their names were not released.
Another U.S. soldier died Tuesday and two others were injured in a road accident near the town of Tallil when their tractor-trailer collided with another vehicle.
One soldier apparently drowned Monday after diving into an aqueduct south of Kirkuk.
Members of his squad retrieved the soldier when he did not resurface, according to Central Command. Medical personnel attempted to revive him when they arrived at the scene, and he was transported via helicopter to a field medical facility, where he subsequently died.
The U.S. Army is investigating.
Another U.S. soldier was killed Monday and another wounded when their 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment convoy was ambushed near Hadithah in northern Iraq, about 120 miles northwest of Baghdad.
The eight-vehicle convoy was conducting a resupply mission from Al Asad Air Base to Al Qaim when it was attacked at about 6:15 a.m. An unknown number of attackers fired small arms, rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns at the convoy. Attack helicopters and ground forces were immediately brought in to secure the area and seek out the attackers.
Also on Monday, one soldier was killed and two injured while traveling down a main supply route northwest of Talil. A tractor-trailer collided with a Humvee.
Later Monday, Central Command said one U.S. soldier was killed and three injured in Baghdad when a Humvee ran over a land mine or unexploded ordnance in an apparently hostile act.
On Sunday, one U.S. soldier was killed and another injured while performing guard duties in an explosion at an Iraqi ammunitions facility in Diwaniyah. The explosion isn't believed to be a result of hostile action.
Another attack was launched against U.S. troops Monday, but no one was hurt or killed.
In the town of Samarra, soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division conducting a patrol observed the occupants of three white trucks firing weapons in public.
Initial reports say two of the trucks passed by the soldiers without incident but a third fired shots directly at the soldiers, who returned fire. The truck quickly left the area.
U.S. soldiers were later sent to the hospital to check for civilian injuries. The U.S. Army V Corps is conducting an investigation of the incident.
But despite the recent rash of attacks on U.S. troops, coalition forces maintain that order is being brought to the region -- slowly, but surely.
"Every week we've had some kind of attack, whether it be a drive-by shooting or a (rocket-propelled grenade)," Maj. Gen. Buford Blount III, the U.S. general in charge of troops in Baghdad, said earlier this week. "But it's very small groups, one or two people, in isolated attacks against our soldiers."
Iraq's civilian administrator Paul Bremer said Monday that troops have done a great deal to re-establish stability, including turning on water and electricity and improving basic services, and will start a program to help the nation rebuild its economy.
But he acknowledged: "There is still a lot to do, there's no doubt."
Central Command said coalition forces are aggressively patrolling Iraq to eliminate crimes, rid populated areas of weapons, ammunition and explosives, and stop the black market trade in fuel and other commodities. They also conduct joint security patrols with Iraqi police.
For example, Marines are assisting the Karbala Police Department in refurbishing their jail facilities. They will help establish electrical power in the jail building, as well as improve cell locks and the water and sewage system.
Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division recently raided a site near Mosul based on a citizen's report of illegal arms possession. The soldiers confiscated two rocket-propelled grenade launchers and several hundred rounds of both heavy machine gun and small arms ammunition, according to a Central Command statement.
Iraqi police manning a checkpoint in Baghdad recently stopped and confiscated a stolen and repainted Iraqi Army truck and confiscated a total of 28 rocket-propelled grenade rounds, two crates of heavy machine gun ammunition, an Iranian-made anti-personnel mine and about 50 anti-tank rounds from other vehicles.
A joint patrol of soldiers from the 549th Military Police Company and Iraqi police raided a house in Baghdad recently while serving an Iraqi Court warrant for house invasion. They arrested three suspects and confiscated a pistol and three hand grenades. Suspects were hauled off to the New Baghdad Police Station and the weapons and ammunition were taken to a U.S. military weapons collection point.
Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, raided a site in the Bayji area where they suspected Fedayeen personnel were hiding. They detained 18 people, including two Fedayeen leaders.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.